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80 CUs Registered for 'The Great Transaction Challenge'

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MIDDLETOWN, Pa. (1/31/14)--A total of 80 credit unions are registered to compete in "The Great Transaction Challenge"--a competition that encourages cooperative financial institutions to boost their electronic bill payment usage in 2014.
 
The contest is sponsored by MY CU Services, a credit union service organization of Mid-Atlantic Corporate FCU, Middletown, Pa.
 
The credit union with electronic bill payment volumes that outperform 2013 levels by the greatest percentage wins free bill payment in 2015 (not to exceed $5,000) from MY CU Services.
 
To help credit unions promote their bill payment services, MY CU Services is providing participating credit unions with marketing templates.
 
"This competition provides credit unions an extra incentive to help their members understand the benefits of utilizing electronic bill payment," said Jaime Agostino, marketing manager for MY CU Services. "The additional marketing efforts will help members and potential members see that credit unions have the technology solutions they are looking for when considering their financial institution options."

D+H officially rebrands U.S. operations

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TORONTO  (1/30/14)--Davis + Henderson Corp. has rebranded its Harland Financial Solutions, Mortgagebot and Compushare brands to D+H.
 
Products and solutions from Harland Financial Solutions, Mortgagebot and Compushare are now operating under the D+H brand but will continue to use their existing product names.
 
The rebranding reflects a broader integration already under way within D+H following a series of acquisitions, D+H said. D+H acquired Harland Financial Solutions in August.
 
The company said it will take a phased approach to rebranding over the next eight months. The first phase is focused on the U.S., with all U.S. businesses repositioned under the D+H brand.
 
The company has also introduced new branding visuals and launched a new website, which displays all product and service offerings delivered by the U.S. organization.
 
D+H offers a leading suite of lending, core banking, channel and payment solutions to more than 6,000 credit unions and banks in North America and around the world.

Rhinelander chamber notes Park City CU's 'Buzz'

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MERRILL, Wis. (1/29/14)--Park City CU last week was named the 2013 Rhinelander Professional and Industrial Business of the Year by the Rhinelander (Wis.) Chamber of Commerce. Among the reasons for the recognition was Park City CU's ability to reach the community through Buzz Points, a merchant-funded debit loyalty program that rewards members for shopping local.
 
"When they listed the reason for our nomination, they specifically mentioned Buzz Points and our cash mobs," said Melissa Wrycha, vice president of sales and marketing of the $142 million-asset credit union.
 
Buzz Points is a CUNA Strategic Services provider.
 
Buzz Points helps the Merrill, Wis.-based credit union coalesce its membership to form cash mobs and support local charities. Through its "Cash Mobs for a Cause," the credit union uses local advertising, radio and social media to invite local consumers to shop at a local merchant for two hours. For every consumer who visits the merchant, the credit union donates $1 to a local non-profit of the merchants choosing.
 
Credit union members who are participants in the free program earn points on their transactions that can be redeemed for local gift cards, cash cards and donations.
 
The merchants also give the Park City CU word-of-mouth advertising. "They're talking about us to their customers, telling them how much they appreciate that we bought into the Buzz Points program," Wrycha told News Now. "That's a real benefit, especially if they talk to customers who don't currently have a checking account or loan with us."

My CU Services, Banno partner for mobile apps

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MIDDLETOWN, Pa. (1/28/14)--Through a partnership with Cedar Falls, Iowa-based Banno, MY CU Services, a credit union service organization of Mid-Atlantic Corporate FCU, will offer credit unions a mobile financial aggregation application that provides account access to multiple financial institutions. 
 
With the app, called Mobile Pay, credit union members can monitor and manage all of their accounts from any smartphone. Mobile Pay provides balance inquiries, notifications, statements, and account-limit alerts.
 
"Working with Banno, we've created a program that delivers both convenience and ease of use," said Drew J. Kishbaugh, president/CEO of MY CU Services. "It gives our credit union clients a highly desired service to offer their members that will increase member loyalty and retention."
 
Among the features Mobile Pay offers:
  • Instant access to transaction and account activities;
  • Automatic updated balances;
  • Account-to-account fund transfers;
  • Branch and ATM location search; and
  • Remote deposit capture.
 
The app can be branded, and no technology investment or core integration is required, MY CU Services said.

MnCUN partners with DAYTA Marketing for social media

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (1/27/14)--The Minnesota Credit Union Network has partnered with with DAYTA Marketing to provide social media management services to its member credit unions.
 
"One of the biggest challenges credit unions have with social media is that they don't have the time or resources to devote to using it most effectively," said John Ferstl, vice president of the MnCUN subsidiary, Network Service Corp. "DAYTA Marketing can help credit unions by doing everything from establishing their social media strategy to handling day-to-day postings on Facebook, Twitter and other platforms--and everything in between."
 
DAYTA Marketing supports credit unions' social media efforts by building out and enhancing each social media platform. Among the services DAYTA offers:
  • Social media management;
  • Website development;
  • Text-message marketing;
  • Search-engine optimization (SEO) enhancement;
  • E-mail marketing; and
  • Event and contest planning.

LSC reports superior customer satisfaction

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NAPERVILLE, Ill. (1/24/14)--LSC, a credit union service organization that provides payment solutions to more than 35% of U.S. credit unions and a supplier of prepaid debit card programs, reported strong client survey results this week.
 
LSC, a subsidiary of the Illinois Credit Union League, is a CUNA Strategic Services provider.
 
"Out of 871 responses received, not a single credit union believes our competitors have better 'product quality,'" said George Fiegle, LSC chief operating officer. "Seventy-three percent indicated that our product quality was 'much better' or 'somewhat better' than our competitors."
 
About 98% of respondents said LSC had better pricing than its competitors, and 76% indicated the CUSO's pricing is "much better or somewhat better," Fiegle said.  
 
LSC also rated high in customer service, with 81% of its clients saying the CUSO's customer service is "much better" or "somewhat better" than its direct competitors.
 
Clients gave LSC 99% or 100% satisfaction ratings in professionalism, responsiveness and staff knowledge.
 
LSC, formerly known as ICUL Service Corp., serves roughly 2,500 credit unions in all 50 states, by offering credit, debit, pre-paid debit, ATM and customized mobile apps programs.

NFCC program offers free credit monitoring

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (1/23/14)--As credit unions look to help their members guard against the loss of personal information in the wake of the Target security data breach, the National Foundation for Credit Counseling's (NFCC) Sharpen Your Financial Focus program includes a free 12-month membership to Experian's freecreditscore.com for eligible program participants. 
 
Credit unions have already incurred costs estimated to be in the range of $25 million to $30 million in costs as a result of the Target stores data security breach, a Credit Union National Association survey has shown (News Now Jan. 22)
 
The free membership includes credit monitoring and alerts to notify members about new activity on their credit report, a mobile app enabling alerts and updates on the go, and access to fraud resolution agents if suspicious activity is found on the consumer's report. 
 
"Consumers need to be aware of unauthorized credit activity, and one way to effectively accomplish that is through credit monitoring," said Gail Cunningham, NFCC spokesperson. "It's hard to put a price on financial peace of mind, but since the freecreditscore.com product is offered at no charge, consumers are without an excuse if they don't take advantage of this opportunity to protect areas of financial vulnerability."
 
Federal laws protect consumers against loss but are typically tied to a staggered notification timeframe. Therefore, the sooner a consumer is aware of the issue, the easier it is to limit the loss. 
 
In addition to the credit monitoring and alerts, the freecreditscore.com product includes access to the consumer's credit report and score; the Score Planner tool, which estimates the impact individual financial decisions have on the credit score; and personal finance articles.  The features are designed to increase consumers' understanding of credit and to provide knowledge that can be used to make educated financial decisions.
 
The product complements the three-step Sharpen Your Financial Focus program. The steps are designed to help consumers regain control of their finances while increasing the likelihood of long-term positive credit behavior changes.

Synergent's RDC reaches $1.18M in deposits

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WESTBROOK, Maine (1/22/14)--Synergent Corp. has reported that use of its mobile deposit capture product has multiplied exponentially a year after its launch.
 
The Westbrook, Maine-based credit union service organization said that at year-end 2013 the service had been used by 1,397 credit union members for a total of $1.18 million in deposits (Weekly Update Jan. 17).
 
When it launched the product in December 2012 with financial service software provider Ensenta Corp., it was used by 111 University CU members with $53,000 in total deposits. University CU is based in Orono, Maine, and has about $226 million in assets.
 
Nick Chasse, the director of sales support at Synergent, said that 22 credit unions are planning on integrating the service into their systems this year. Nine currently use it.

Vermont league offers mobile check deposit app

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SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. (1/21/14)--The Association of Vermont Credit Unions now offers a mobile check deposit app, powered by its business partner Vantiv.
 
Granite Hills CU, with $35 million in assets, Barre, Vt., is  the first credit union to offer the app, which works on both iPhone and Android devices and allows members to deposit checks by imaging both sides of the check with a mobile device (Newslines Express Jan. 17).  
 
The program is now available as an optional add-on feature for all credit unions on AVCU's CU Card program.
 
"Unlike traditional mobile deposit capture programs, ours requires only a nominal, one-time setup fee and has no monthly minimums," said Bryan Kent, AVCU vice president.  "It's a great way for credit unions to cost effectively offer this rapidly growing, member friendly service." 
 
Credit unions can control which members have access to the program and also have the option to pass usage fees on to the members who use the service.  Credit unions are charged based on the number of items members deposit remotely each month.

CU Direct finishes 2013 strong

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CENTENNIAL, Colo. (1/17/14)--CU Direct Connect (CUDC) said that indirect auto sales growth closed strong in 2013 as its member credit unions received 33% more auto applications in 2013 than in 2012. Overall auto funding volume was up 28.5% compared with 2012.
 
CUDC member credit unions increased market share 130 basis points on a year-over-year basis in 2013, the company said.
 
Year-over-year CUDC experienced 23% gain in revenues and a 61% increase in net income. The company increased net income nearly three times faster than revenues, it said. Book value rose 17.5% for 2013.
 
Preferred lender agreements with the AutoNation and Sonic Automotive dealer groups, and CUDC exclusivity during Phil Long's group sales events held at the World Arena in Colorado Springs, Colo., were among the developments in 2013 that spurred the positive results, CUDC said.
 
CUDC also rolled out new technology in 2013. Opportunity Pool is an online tool that partners use to view and fund loans that are declined from other participating credit unions. CUDC also established a connection to both RouteOne and DealerTrack web-based credit application and integrated Open Lending's Lenders Protection product.

Xtend reaches into Alaska

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (1/16/14)--Xtend, Inc., the Grand Rapids, Mich.-based multi-owned credit union service organization, announced that $67 million-asset Tongass FCU has purchased an ownership block of shares and will become its first Alaska customer-owner during an upcoming data processing conversion. 
 
The Ketchikan, Alaska-based credit union will convert to the CU*BASE core data processing solution from Spokane, Wash.-based CUSO CU*Northwest, Inc. 
 
"After a due diligence visit last fall, Tongass quickly tapped us on the shoulder to provide call center and back office support for members and staff during their upcoming conversion project," said Xtend President Scott Collins.

The conversion project is scheduled for March 1.

CUANY partners with DBA on employee benefits

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ALBANY, N.Y., and ATLANTA (1/15/14)--The Credit Union Association of New York (CUANY) is partnering with Digital Benefit Advisors (DBA), a provider of employee benefits solutions and strategies.
 
Through the partnership, DBA will work with CUANY to provide employee benefits solutions to New York credit unions and their employees.
 
"DBA's advisers understand the industry landscape and will work closely with our credit unions to meet their current and emerging needs--from coverage and claims to private benefits exchange options," said CUANY President/CEO William J. Mellin.
 
DBA is the largest division of Digital Insurance and has served credit unions throughout the country for years. In 2013, DBA formed its credit union services team after partnering with CUNA Mutual Group's employee benefits book of business.
 
In addition to individual credit unions, DBA also serves Pennsylvania through a partnership with the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association, and California and Nevada, in conjunction with the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues.

CUNA Mutual announces loan generation marketing webinar series

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MADISON, Wis. (1/14/14)--CUNA Mutual Group's 2014 loan generation marketing webinar series begins Jan. 21 at 2 p.m. CST, with a session focused on recapturing auto loans and targeting new opportunities.
 
"Loan generation marketing campaigns help credit unions recapture loans lost to competitors, and acquire new loans, by identifying a credit union's best loan opportunities using credit pre-screens and then sending the right message at the right time," said Steve Hoke, director of loan growth products for CUNA Mutual Group. "Campaigns feature a variety of loan types, including auto, mortgage, home equity, credit card and personal loans."
 
Webinars are conducted by CUNA Mutual Group loan generation marketing specialists and address how to increase loan portfolios, create deeper credit union member relationships, and generate interest and member-friendly non-interest income.
 
Webinars are free, run from 2 to 2:30 p.m. CST, and conclude with a live question-and-answer session.
 
2014 loan generation marketing webinars:
  • Auto Loan Recapture, Universal Auto and Next Car Purchase: Recapture Loans and Target New Opportunities--Jan. 21, March 5, May 6, July 16, Sept. 10, Nov. 5;
  • Credit Card and Personal Loans: Growing Unsecured Loans--Jan. 28, Aug. 5, Nov. 12;
  • Mortgage Recapture and First-Time Home Buyers: Increase Your Share of the Mortgage Market--Feb. 5 and July 22;
  • Home Equity Recapture and Home Equity Acquisition: Grow and Diversify Your Loan Portfolio--March 18 and Aug. 14; and
  • Loan Generation Marketing: A Comprehensive Strategy--Oct. 7.

CSS provider LendKey signs 8 CUs

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NEW YORK (1/14/14)--LendKey, the cloud-based lending technology company located in New York City, announced the addition of eight new lending clients in December, raising the total list of clients using its private student loan and private student loan refinancing platform to 275 financial institutions.
 
LendKey is a CUNA Strategic Services provider.
 
"LendKey continues to expand its client base and now serves financial institutions totaling more than $65 billion in assets and serving over 5 million existing customers," said Jim Merrill, senior vice president of Sales at LendKey. "There is a significant market opportunity for financial institutions that are interested in attracting lifelong Gen-Y customers through fairly priced student lending products.  LendKey is pleased to continue to help power these solutions and assist in building these new and existing customer relationships."
The eight credit unions are:
  • My Personal CU, Wyoming, Mich.;
  • Central Maine FCU, Lewiston, Maine;
  • Park View FCU, Harrisonburg, Va.;
  • Summit CU, Madison, Wis.;
  • Belvoir FCU, Woodbridge, Va.;
  • Home Town FCU, Owatonna, Minn.;
  • Fort Campbell FCU, Clarksville, Tenn.; and
  • Health Care FCU, St. Louis.

CUNA ERM Institute registration open for 2014

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MADISON, Wis. (1/13/14)--Registration is open for the CUNA Enterprise Risk Management Certification Institute, offered in collaboration with The Rochdale Group Inc. and taking place May 5-8 in San Diego.
 
The institute, in its fourth installment, provides attendees with crucial risk management knowledge and the tools to incorporate enterprise risk management (ERM) at their credit unions.
 
Through the insights and advice of ERM consultants from The Rochdale Group, participants will gain a better understanding of their credit unions' appetite for risk, risk beyond investments, and how risk management can drive decision making.
 
"Credit unions have made great advances in the management of risk, but we still have a lot of work to do before ERM becomes a staple in the movement," said Todd Spiczenski, senior vice president, Center for Professional Development at the Credit Union National Association. "With The Rochdale Group's continued involvement, this institute prepares attendees to oversee the ongoing management of risk in their organizations and react to economic crisis."
 
At the December institute, 112 individuals earned their Credit Union Enterprise Risk Management Expert (CUERME) certifications. Attendees of the May institute will have the opportunity to earn their CUERME designations and be officially certified as credit union ERM experts.

NeighborBench releases updated record retention schedule

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FREDERICK, Md. (1/10/14)--A record retention schedule, available free to credit unions from compliance services provider NeighborBench, has been updated in anticipation of new 2014 regulations, including new mortgage and mortgage servicing rules.   
 
The 13-page guide is designed to assist those charged with managing records at their financial institution.
 
The guide offers a universal listing of the records financial institutions may create or use followed by a general guideline on how long those records should be kept.
 
The document is available by contacting NeighborBench's Mike Lane at mike.lane@neighborbench.com or 1-888-972-3624, ext. 7015.

4 Iowa Credit Unions Join Shared Branching

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LAKEWOOD, Colo. (1/9/14)--Four Iowa credit unions have joined CU Service Network shared branching.
 
The credit unions fill a gap in CU Service Network's shared branching coverage in north and west Iowa, CU Service said in announcing the signings.
 
Three credit unions--Cedar Falls (Iowa) Community CU, North Iowa Community CU, Mason City, and Sioux Valley Community CU, Sioux City--signed contracts as issuers and acquirers. Quaker Oats CU, Cedar Rapids, signed a contract as issuer only.
 
Seven new branches will be added to the CU Service Network, opening up northcentral Iowa and the northern Nebraska-Iowa border to shared branching.
 
Also, acquiring a branch in Cedar Falls provides shared branching access to out-of-city and out-of-state University of Northern Iowa students, CU Service Network said.
 
CU Service Network has more than 5,000 branches in all 50 states.

LEVERAGE Acquires Tenn. Audit Services Firm

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala., and TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (1/18/14)--LEVERAGE, a subsidiary of the League of Southeastern Credit Unions, has acquired the audit services of Chattanooga, Tenn.-based Hiram H. Hollifield, CPA.
 
"This acquisition makes LEVERAGE one of the largest and most experienced audit and compliance groups in the country," said Patrick La Pine, LEVERAGE president/CEO. "Credit unions will greatly benefit from working with a company that only performs credit union audits."
 
Hollifield will provide LEVERAGE with the capacity to provide opinion audits to its client base in the Southeast U.S. The new audit services will be called the CU Audit and Compliance Group and will continue to operate out of Chattanooga. Hollifield's seven employees will be retained.
 
The addition of CU Audit and Compliance Group complements LEVERAGE's CU Audit and Consulting Services for credit unions in Alabama, Florida and Mississippi.

Mich. Schools and Gov't CU Taps ADP for Wellness Program

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ROSELAND, N.J (1/7/14)--Michigan Schools and Government CU (MSGCU) has enrolled in a wellness program offered by ADP, a company primarily known for its payroll processing services.
 
The ADP Vitality program will enhance MSGCU's existing wellness initiative and help minimize the impact of increasing healthcare costs, the credit union said. Employees at the Clinton Township, Mich. credit union will be able to earn rewards for participating in medical exams, having gym memberships and taking a Vitality assessment. By pursuing multiple activities, employees can reduce their healthcare premium costs.
 
"We're taking an interactive and innovative approach to help our employees live healthier lives," said Peter Gates, president/CEO of the $1.3 billion credit union. "Partnering with ADP, in combination with MSGCU's wellness initiatives, will help us empower our employees to live healthier lives by giving them access to educational tools and resources from any computer or device. Employees will also be able to earn incentives by making healthy decisions."

New Mid-Atlantic Corporate Forms ALM CUSO

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MIDDLETOWN, Pa. (1/6/14)--Mid-Atlantic Corporate FCU announced the formation of ATON Financial Management, a credit union service organization to provide asset liability management (ALM) and related services to credit unions nationwide.
 
ATON, which is a nautical term meaning "aid to navigation," fits the CUSO's purpose, said Jay Murray, president/CEO of Mid-Atlantic Corporate.
 
"Increased compliance burden, tight margins, and a volatile economy all add up to more challenges for credit unions in navigating an effective course for balance sheet and asset performance," said Murray. "ATON brings the various ALM components together, making assistance available for both member and non-member credit unions looking for expertise in these areas."
 
ATON's services include balance-sheet management, asset-liability management, ALM modeling, policy review, training, due diligence and investment advisory services.
 
Mid-Atlantic Corporate FCU Senior Vice President and Chief Investment Officer Bruce Six will serve as CEO of ATON. Tim Sustak will serve as president. Sustak has held a number of finance-related positions at Mid-Atlantic, including investment director, accounting director, and assistant vice president of financial analysis at Mid-Atlantic.
 
Mid-Atlantic Corporate serves more than 800 credit unions, CUSOs, leagues and chapters in 16 states and Washington, D.C.

Guardian CU Signs with CSS Provider Buzz Points

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AUSTIN, Texas, and MILWAUKEE, Wis. (1/3/14)--Guardian CU has selected the merchant-funded debit loyalty program from Buzz Points for its members.
 
Austin, Texas-based Buzz Points, a CUNA Strategic Services provider, rewards account holders for using their debit card and for shopping local. Participants in the free program earn points on their transactions that can be redeemed for local gift cards, cash cards and donations to local non-profits. Members can earn even more points by shopping at one of the 7,500 locally owned merchants in the Buzz network.
 
"In this digital age, we found the social aspect of the program especially appealing whereby our members can earn extra points for connecting to Facebook and Twitter, and sharing their rewards experience with friends," said Steve Wesson, president/CEO of $225 million-asset Guardian CU, based in Milwaukee, Wis.
 
"Guardian CU, with a history dating back to 1934, has a reputation for delivering advanced products and services to its members," said Jay Valanju, CEO of Buzz Points. "Buzz Points not only enables members to earn points for gift cards that can be redeemed or donated to local charities, but can also strengthen local economies in the surrounding area."
 
Studies show that of $100 spent with national retailers, anywhere from $13 to $33 remains in the community, whereas that same $100 spent with local merchants results in $50 to $60 staying in the region, Valanju said.

CUs Drive Dealertrack Network Growth

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LAKE SUCCESS, N.Y. (1/2/14)--Dealertrack Technologies announced that the number of lenders connected to its Dealertrack Credit Application Network has surpassed 1,400, including more than 700 credit unions nationwide.
 
The Dealertrack Credit Application Network, which has grown from five lenders in 2001, allows dealers to electronically submit application data to a network of credit unions and other financial providers.
 
"As automotive retail and credit markets continue to improve and better processes are put in place, we anticipate lenders will deploy more capital into automotive lending and concentrate on building more active relationships with dealers going into 2014," said Michael Collins, vice president, Lender Finance Solutions.
 
Among the credit unions that have found success with Dealertrack is $675 million-asset Truity FCU, Bartlesville, Okla.
 
"Integrating Dealertrack into our indirect loan process has helped us add 17,000 members and increase our loan volume by 340% over five years," said Steven Meyer, Truity FCU vice president of consumer lending.